Small Town, Big Possibilities

By Madison White

October 4, 2016

This town is meant to be explored.

Big cities often appeal to bigger crowds for various reasons: more restaurant selections, more things to do on a Friday night, bigger libraries to get lost in… the list is endless. But small towns also hold their appeal for different reasons.

Ashland, Ohio is a “middler town”. It’s small compared to Columbus or Cleveland, but rather sizable compared to Hayesville or Loudonville. Growing up in Ashland and, likewise, living here for close to twenty-one years, I’ve learned a thing or two about this city (town? city?… it can go either way, really). There are some pretty great things to do, if you only know where to look.

Best place to find the most adorable clothes? Clothes Minded Boutique on Main Street. Best place to get a delicious lunch and equally delicious cup of coffee? Downtown Perk on Main Street. Best place to quell your sweet tooth? The Candy & Nut Shoppe also on Main Street. Main Street has many ‘small town’ shops and stores to choose from and give your business to. Likewise, the best Chinese food is located on Main Street at Main Moon. During the winter holiday, speakers attached to the light posts play Christmas music and are lit with warm, glowing lights. And when it snows, it’s picturesque. Sound appealing yet?

My goal here is not to convince you that Ashland, Ohio is the place to be because many people who grow up here tend to move away. But it’s the things you can do while you’re here and what you can do when you come back to visit (because at some point in your life, it’s an almost guarantee that you will return, even if it’s only for the Hawkins’ doughnuts).


What makes a small town so appealing? Places like Stars Hollow and Mystic Falls can start to answer that question. But since we don’t have the Gilmore Girls or a horde of vampires running amuck in the streets of Ashland, what is it that makes it “Someplace Special”?

In the typical small towns in movies or television shows, you watch the town setting up for its winter carnival or decking themselves out in gowns for the Founders’ Ball or Banquet. That all sounds great, doesn’t it? But where are Ashland’s balls? Where are our Founders’ Banquets? For the near twenty-one years I’ve been living here, I haven’t heard much talk of balls, banquets, or winter carnivals in the town square (mainly because we do not have a town square).

To my great surprise though, I found out that Ashland is actually having a ball in December. Hosted by Truly Yours Fashion, there is going to be a masquerade ball in Redwood Hall, on Ashland University’s campus, Saturday, December 10, 2016, 7pm to Midnight, tickets selling for $10. That sounds beyond exciting. This is a chance to retrieve your old prom dresses and tuxedos that deserve another night on the town, or an excuse to go shopping for new formal wear. Any route you go, it’s sure to be a night to remember. Hey, maybe it’ll even be snowing!

Now, I know balls may not be your thing, but there are plenty of things to do, plenty of places to go, and plenty of food to eat, if you know where to look. Ashland is a town that was meant to be explored. You’re never going to find anything remotely “hidden gem-like” if you sit cooped up in your house or room all day. Taking a buddy and walking around Ashland just for the heck of it can unearth some places that you might never have found before. Take your camera with you and make a day of it. You’ll be surprised with what you will find.

What’s even more exciting is Ashland’s history. While I could go on with random facts of Historical Ashland, I’ll just say that at one point in time, Ashland had the most millionaires per capita in the nation. That’s pretty cool and equally understandable when you realize that places like Trinity Lutheran Church and the Good Shepherd Nursing Home used to be mansions. If history is your thing or you just like learning about the town you live in, I would suggest looking into Ashland’s history because there’s a lot of pretty nifty facts and stories you’re going to find. But for the time being, take a day and explore the inner most depths of Ashland and what it has to offer. It’s a pretty cool place to live.


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Goldberry Roasting Company
Muskingum Watershed
Ohio State Reformatory